Is it true that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder? This adage certainly rings true when social screening your candidates.
In recent years and coinciding with the emergence and popularity of social media platforms, social screening is becoming increasingly prevalent.
But is social screening all that it’s cracked up to be? Or are you wasting your time?
There is no doubt that social screening can be a useful tool in a recruiter's arsenal, you can usually tell a lot about someone from their social presence and it can help reveal professional and lifestyle traits of the candidate that were not present in their CV.
But what do you make of what you see? Is there a correlation between work and play?
Before plunging into the depths of a candidate's social media, you must first understand how the boundaries between people's work and personal life converge and acquaint yourself with the multi-dimensional nature of the candidate which social media allows you to access.
For example, consider a candidate's Linkedin and Twitter profiles, particularly what they post, like and share. This can yield meaningful insights into their interests, true passion and professional knowledge, in addition to allowing you to confirm basic employment data.
Facebook, on the other hand allows you a glimpse into their lifestyle and can help you to gauge how this person might behave in social situations with clients and colleagues alike. Does a Facebook profile of nothing but selfies and self-promotion suggest a level of narcissism? And is this something that you might not want to manage if you’re trying to build a cohesive team?
Facebook can also shine a light on the candidate’s style of communication on social channels. Are they considered, informed and thoughtful or more hot-headed in their responses? Analysing and being aware of this could help you to determine whether or not you give them access to your company’s social channels.
Keep in mind that social screening can be a double edged sword and more often than not, it's not what you find through social screening that can be most revealing, its what you can't. The privacy settings, or lack thereof, of their social channels is a good indicator of how astute they are on social media.
Not taking the necessary steps to shield personal profiles can be seen as a sign of carelessness and may mean the candidate is not ready for the professional marketplace, or alternatively, it may be an attractive trait that means they have nothing to hide.
There is no denying that social media screening can be a valuable supplement to a comprehensive recruitment process, but it should be treated as such, a supplement. Social presence is not always an accurate indication of the candidate's work ethic and professionalism. Could what you see be a lapse in judgement or a result of a lack of awareness?
Due to the very nature of social media, the various platforms that are now available and also the intergenerational popularity of such platforms, social screening is bound to carry some level of bias and subjectivity.
Are junior recruiters going to interpret some social behaviours different to partners? I think it’s safe to assume so. And for this very reason, if you do draw conclusions from social screening, ensure they are accompanied by stringent verification in either a phone pre-screening or face-to-face interview.
David Haines is Global Sales Director of Xref